Category Archives: Marie

Guest posts from Marie

Joy is a Choice of My Behavior

respond to life with joy week 4Joy is a Choice of My Behavior Week 4

So many things are out of reach as well as out of our ability to control, but our behavior, that’s not one of those things.

When we are choosing joy, we need to realize that what we say, think, do as well as how we treat ourselves matters.

If it matters to you, then it matters to God.  He cares. 

Kay tells us that “Unresolved emotional pain and brokenness can make choosing joy on a daily basis challenging” and that we need to take care of ourselves.

Choosing joy is not always easy and sometimes can be most difficult, but it is possible to do so and to choose joy daily.

She gives us some practical things that will help us in our desire to choose joy:

  • Look for a Joy Mentor – find someone who is more than just a happy personality, but rather a sister that will find joy in the tears, God in the ordinary and is thankful for the perfect will of God even though it is painful. Release the little girl in you to experience unbridled joy.  I love that she calls children “joy factories,” as they truly do just soak up the precious moments surrounding them.
  • Avoid Small Potatoes – I often remind people that it’s the little things that make life big. While completely true, it’s also the little things that steal your joy.  Traffic, spat with family, flat tires, things not going the way as planned, etc.  Joy thieves are waiting in each instance of your day for one purpose…to steal your joy.  You get to choose if you hand it over willingly or not.  Choose wisely.
  • Rediscover Pleasure – I often talk about ordinary joy and the hidden treasures in our day to day life. I tease my boss sometimes by saying “I want it all and I want it wrapped” but truth is, we do want the best of the best and often miss the greatest joys in the most ordinary of things.   The feeling of stomping through puddles, the giggles of joy when romping through grass, the cheesy look of the full moon as he lights up the darkest night.  When you open your eyes to see the treasures in the ordinary, they quickly become priceless treasures.
  • Express Affection Extravagantly – I’m a hugger. When you meet me, you’ll likely get a hug, huge smile and hearty hello.  Many people can barely make eye contact, much less express affection in this manner.  I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone when in public this week and smile bigger, greet others with a warm handshake or if circumstances allow it a warm hug.  You’ll be amazed at what it does for YOUR heart.
  • See the Humor – I love laughing. Often when I’m laughing, I don’t realize it but I carry a lot of volume, and sometimes my children don’t see the humor in that. Making the best of the worst situations sometimes requires seeing the humor.  Sometimes you are the one that can point it out, when no one else even sees it.  Recently we had our family vacation.  Whirlwind, lots of driving but lots of fun.  On the way home we had a plan to just drive straight through (12 hours) and take one day to rest before finishing up our final trip home, another 13 hours.  Four hours into the trip our tire blows.  We don’t have a special tool we need to change it, so what went from normal 30 minute inconvenience was now an almost 5 hour ordeal.  We “picnicked” on the side of the interstate, laughed and had a good time while basking in the morning/afternoon sun.  We get another 3 hours under our belt and another tire “sounded funny.”  We pull over and sure enough the tread is ripped and the tire needed to be replaced.  We immediately find a Wal-Mart Tire Center, take it in while they are changing the 2nd tire, we shop.  We are laughing at the craziness of it all when my son hugged me and said “Mom, I’m glad you are my mom, because with anyone else, this would have really been bad.” I reminded him we can’t change the situation so we needed to simply enjoy it and reminded him that we may never know what God protected us from.  Find the humor!  Kay reminds us that “when you recognize both the pain and the humor around you, you take another step toward knowing true joy.”
  • Practice Gratitude – Even if we are never blessed with another “great thing” we can always be grateful for our home in heaven, the amazing grace of God and His never ending mercy. There is always something to be thankful for. Question is, will you see it during the storm that rages?  Will you see it in the ordinary?  Will you be looking for it?  When you are thinking about all the great things that surround you, you will be thankful.
  • Live in the Moment – I love those precious moments where joy just bursts into your heart from the most unexpected places! Trouble is, we want to live there all the time.  If we were to never experience pain or sorrow, we could never truly experience great joy.  Stop looking at the trouble you are enduring and focus on the priceless moments of joy and blessings.  If your sorrows are so great, grief so heavy and burdens are so deep, then take time each day to focus on the blessings of heaven, amazing grace and God’s great mercy by way of the gift of the cross. Live in that, even when the storm is raging.
  • Find the Blessing in the Mess – Have you ever watched a child play in the rain, mud or even finger paint? Have you just quietly observed their smile and laughter or do you see just the mess they are making? Inside of every mess we get ourselves into, or the ones that seem to sneak up on us, there IS a blessing.  I have no clue what it could be, but seek it out! Look for it! If you never find the blessing in the mess, then trust God to work it out for your good.
  • Passing the JOY on – Our tag line at Spreading Joy Corporation is “There’s no joy like spreading joy.” There simply isn’t. If you want joy to be at your very core, then “give.”  If you want to have joy flooding your heart each day, then “do.” If you want joy to be a way of life, then “serve.” Don’t think about how you’ll be thanked, who will see, how much value your act of joy is worth, just do it.

JOY is a choice!

Create JOY, Cause JOY and Spread JOY while you are choosing JOY!

Thank you for allowing me the honor of leading this Bible Study.  Thank you for the desire to be men and women of joy!

If you’d like more help and/or ideas about Spreading Joy, you can check out our book here, Spreading Joy Daily as well as our most popular articles encouraging you in JOY listed here.  http://www.spreading-joy.org/site/quick-links/

 

Download your free PDF Worksheet Here 

Discussion Questions

  1. How can you choose joy daily?
  2. What does the Lord is your strength mean to you?
  3. Psalm 126:5 – what does that mean to you? How can you apply it to your daily life

Joy is a Condition of my Heart

happiness requires no effort week 3

Joy is a Condition of my Heart Week 3

Before this study, have you ever really thought about joy being a heart matter?

In our day to day life, there are so many uncertain things, uncontrollable things and scary things.  Those are the kinds of conditions that we simply have no control over.  The condition of our heart is completely ours to control.

You may have heard the saying

J = Jesus

O = Others

Y = Yourself

While this saying is completely true, the problems come in when we forget the “Y” in joy.

As ladies, we are typically so busy being wonder woman wife, caring daughter, fearless mom, awesome employee, awesome employer, leader, blogger, and a whole host of other things that we forget to take some time out for ourselves.

Kay reminds us that to nurture and build joy in ourselves we must:

  • Focus on Grace
  • Trust God for the Future
  • Have Balance in our Life
  • Practice Acceptance

 

“Happiness comes unbidden and unexpectedly and can leave just as abruptly; joy can be available anytime, anywhere, anyplace but it is a result of our decision to choose it.”  ~ Kay Warren

As a child of the King, doing the things listed above doesn’t give us the right to trample all over God’s amazing grace and live a life that will kill our relationship with God, but on the other hand, never obeying the Word of the Lord will also kill our relationship with God.

Choosing joy isn’t always easy, but that is where our faith grows.

All of us at some point will experience great sorrow, but IN that great sorrow is an Almighty God that will never leave us alone.

Doing the things Kay reminds us of will get our minds and hearts in the right direction.  Take time daily to do something for yourself that will warm your heart and bring a smile to your face.

We forget that WE are loved unconditionally by our heavenly Father even though He knows the worst in us.  He chooses to love us in spite of our short comings.  Yes, we want to get better, yes we want to reflect HIS love and compassion and yes, we want to ultimately live like Jesus.  As long as we remain in our human body, we will fall short.

Extend yourself some grace while trusting the Lord.  When you fall short, stumble or even freak out over various situations – ask God to forgive you, forgive yourself and then take the next step. Doing this for yourself will allow you even more freedom to nurture joy in others.

Nurturing Joy in Others:

  • Believe the Best about Others
  • Offer Nonjudgmental Love
  • Empathize with other’s Feelings
  • Appreciate Other’s efforts

 

When we have been hurt by others, beat down or even unappreciated, many find it difficult to extend their heart to spread joy to others.  It’s painful.

Sometimes believing the best about others will turn out that we were completely wrong in our beliefs.  They control what we see, they show us only what they want us to see, and then the truth comes out (it always does) and we are hurt because we are taken advantage of.  Don’t let this stop you from making a difference in the heart and life of others.

We need to push past our hurts, our fears and the things that hold us back from making a difference for others.  We will disappoint others as well as be disappointed.

We also need to push past our guilt when trying to make a difference for others’.  Many of us desire to do more or value what we do for others based on the “cost/price” we had to pay.

Look at the few things Kay listed for us and tell me the value.  Believe, offer, empathize and appreciate are all things that will not cost us a single penny, but are priceless!  When we are giving these types of gifts, we often negate their value and as a result, feel guilty for “not doing more.”

At Spreading Joy, I’m always reminding people that everything you do impacts hearts.  Everything!

When you are making a difference for others, train your heart not to look at the price tag.  Look at the smile of those you are spreading joy to!

If finances are an issue, I have written over 100 ways to make a difference without spending a single penny.  http://spreading-joy.org/site/50-ways-to-make-a-difference-without-spending-a-penny/

 

Use them freely.  There is a free pdf at the end of that article as well as a link to an additional 50 ways to make a difference without spending any money.

Have fun spreading joy to others!

 

Download your Free PDF Worksheet here

Discussion:

Answer any or all of the following questions

 

  1. On a scale of 1-10 how regularly do you trust God for the future
  2. On a scale of 1-10 how readily do you believe the best about others
  3. On a scale of 1-10 how readily do you forgive others
  4. On a scale of 1-10 how often do you applaud others’ efforts

 

 

 

 

Joy is a Conviction of my Mind

Will I surrender to God week 2

Joy is a Conviction of My Mind Week 2

Welcome to another week of Choosing Joy.

This week we’ve taken a deep look into our own heart and mind.  If we are honest, it’s not always pretty there is it?

I love the verses found in 1 Thes 5:16-18 because they are crucial to the heart that desires true joy.

They tell us to rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks!

This starts with determination.  We must decide “do do” this because we are certainly not going to be “feeling” this.

Kay reminds us that “joy begins in the mind” and is ultimately how we respond to life.

So many things bring us great joy but those things can and sometimes will bring great sorrow.

People – The very same people that bring you the greatest joy will one day bring you more tears than you ever imagined. We are all human and we will disappoint…it’s just a matter of time.

Places – Not every place we travel to or explore will bring us the joy we thought it would.  Sometimes, it simply isn’t all our heart imagines.

Possessions – Keep in mind just how miserable the “Hollywood” crowd often is.  They have the nicest of things, shop in the greatest stores but often swim in great misery and pain.

Positions – In this day and age, positions come and go.  Many who hold this as a source of joy will often find themselves discouraged.

Personality – Shy, awkward and backwards people can have just as much joy as the most outgoing extrovert you’ve ever met.

The good and the bad go hand in hand.  Joy and sorrow are right there in the midst of all of these situations and it is our choice to let go of the high expectations of perfection and greatness that keep us pinned down and often miserable.

When we realize one fundamental thing, we’ll be able to start seeing and choosing joy in nearly everything.

JOY is in our heart, simply because Jesus is there.

 

When we look at the everyday with the knowledge that Jesus is in control, Romans 8:29, Jeremiah 29:11 and Eph 2:10 still hold true and that our hope is in the One who spoke this world into existence, then joy will not be as elusive as it once was.

Where is your heart at these days? Matthew 6:21 tells us that “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 

Have you ever really considered that Gods Will can be painful?  I have, but this year it has hit home more than ever. As a mom, I treasure my children and want the best for them.  My son is currently in the middle of God’s will, serving and seeking where God will use him as a Youth Pastor.  You think…wow, that is wonderful Marie! Congratulations!  And it IS wonderful….but at the same time, painful.  This year will be his last year in college and the pain comes in that I simply miss him.  I miss the hugs, the laughter, the jokes, and the silliness.  I miss his serious when necessary side.  I miss him.  But this IS God’s will for him and there isn’t a single day that goes by that I’m not thankful for him being where he is.

Sometimes a period of darkness is God’s will for us as well.  I’ve been there.  It’s difficult, scary and we wonder if we’ll ever make it through.  But we do and we are never alone.

I wrote an article a while back about peering into the darkness and what we see there.

What do we typically see in the darkness? 

  • Nothing…and in abundance
  • Fear
  • Intimidation
  • Hopelessness
  • Despair
  • Loneliness
  • Danger
  • Enhanced Pain (pain is always worse at night isn’t it?)
  • Discouragement
  • Shame
  • Guilt

And I literally could go on and on because “SEEING” the negative is so much easier than seeing the positive in every situation.

We forget that our darkness is another way for our Lord and Savior to remind us that HE Lives! He lives in our darkness along side of us!

 When you peer into the darkness KNOWING that God is with you, you’ll see:

  • Peace that surpasses all understanding
  • JOY unspeakable
  • Light that brightens up the darkest of nights
  • Hope, never ending
  • Mercy, renewed each day
  • Grace, marvelous grace
  • Courage, because your Father HAS you
  • Comfort, knowing you are not alone
  • Faith, because HE will never leave you

 

It is a natural thing to fear the darkness and takes work to get to a place where we can see God there.  But like Kay tells us, it starts in the mind….

Will you surrender to God in the Darkness?  Will you believe that you will find treasures of joy, blessings and meaning there?  Will you cling to God’s promise that HE will never leave you, even when you feel completely alone?

Remember Kay’s prayer “may the pain I am in push me toward a great passion for you and a greater joy in you.”

My daughter spent 5 years fighting a painful battle – Gastroparesis. Her stomach was paralyzed.  She experienced flu symptoms every time she ate.  Take your worst stomach flu, the cramping, the pain and aches and the vomiting and when she eats, that is what was happening.  She had about a year where she only had the pain and she celebrated that! She loved that she could eat without the vomiting and pushed past the pain and just enjoyed each day.  Then out of nowhere it returned.  We now know that when she is under extreme emotional distress her stomach muscles will stop working and she can only drink liquids.

Will she use this pain to fuel her passion for the Lord? I don’t know.  She trusts Him, she still lives and serves the Lord but all of this is hard for me to process, much less a (then) 17 year old mind.

I don’t know what God has in store for her, but I do know that HE is in control and I trust Him.

My prayer for you is that you’ll look for the good in the bad, the light in the dark and God’s hand in everything.  Treasure the beauty in the ordinary and the little things in life that make it big!

Dwell on this – What are some of the little things in your life that make it big? Do you treasure them?

Remember, I’ve got JOY in my heart, because that is where Jesus lives!

Download your Free PDF Worksheet

Choose to answer any or all of the following questions:

  1. Think about a time of deep sorrow in your life, one that has passed. What treasure did you find?
  2. “God values character over comfort, faith over fear, mercy over judgment, justice over injustice, people over possessions, truth over falsehood, humility over pride, hope over despair, love over apathy.” Where did you see the value system of heaven in your life?
  3. What false sources of joy trap you? Is it people, places, possessions, positions or personality?
  4. What would it take for someone to describe you as a woman of joy?

 

 

Joy is my Inheritance

Jesus was a compassionate man week 1

Joy is my Inheritance

What an exciting introduction to Choosing Joy by Kay Warren!  Have you ever taken time to ponder the thought that Joy IS our inheritance?  Pure joy as we walk the streets of gold, as we live in mansions prepared for us, as we finally see our Savior face to face?  That inheritance is waiting for us AND if the Lord did nothing more for us while we were here on earth, that would still be reason enough to choose joy in our daily lives!

Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t stop with the joy of heaven?  The mercy and grace that He gives to us each day is simply amazing.

I love the authentic honesty that Kay Warren starts out this study with.  I love the fact that she lays it all out for us saying that Joy is a choice and that yes, even though we are Christians, we still struggle to find joy in the most difficult, darkest times of our lives.

We tend to forget about the verses that tell us to “Count it all JOY” when we face trouble, like James 1:2 reminds us to do.  Also John 16:33 tells us that we WILL have tribulation in this world, but it doesn’t end there, it also reminds us that Jesus has overcome this world.

When we are struggling to see joy in our trials and we fail to, it brings about guilt, depression and makes us wonder within our heart “why bother.” That guilt weighs us down and wears us out to exhaustion and then we are no longer effective for the Kingdom of the Lord.  If we are doing nothing but drowning in guilt and depression, then the enemy has won that battle.

Keeping in mind what Kay says “Joy and sorrow will always be linked” we can truly step back from our trials and remember Romans 8:28 “ALL things work together for good” even if we can’t see it right now, or if it’s been many years, we can always trust God to work it out for our good.

As Kay points out that yes, even though Jesus was a man of sorrow, He was also a “vibrant, compassionate man, a man of both sorrow and joy who could enter fully into life with all its brokenness.”

Let’s strive to be like Jesus this week and be:

  • A Woman of JOY through our Attitude – We can’t change what happens, but we can control how we react to various situations.
  • A Woman of Joy through our Words – Words are lasting! Good or bad, your words will linger in someone’s heart!
  • A Woman of Joy through our Actions – Jesus was a servant! As you are making a difference for others, your heart will be flooded with great joy!

As you go through your week, seeking to choose joy, remember Kay’s definition of joy.

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”

 

What have you allowed to hold you back from living a life of joy?  Before I answer this, I want to remind you that pain is pain…regardless of what kind – it ALL hurts.  Many feel that there are big hurts, little hurts and everything in between, but, keep in mind pain hurts.

Even though I’m a pretty joyful, roll with it kind of gal, I struggle with seeing the good in the negative just like many others do.  The worst time was when my father died.  I knew it was coming, the doctors told us he had 6 months due to a worn out heart.  I tried to prepare others, get cousins, family and friends to come and see him and say what they wanted to say.  I moved in with him to help him with various physical limitations he had towards the end.

I thought I was ready.

I thought wrong. 

For nearly 2 years afterwards, I was such a deep depression that I hardly remember any of it.  There was no scrapbooking, no journaling, no nothing.  I went to work or church and came home to sleep.  That was it. It wasn’t until I started pouring myself into others that needed help, senior ladies in my church that wanted to be a “secret sister” but couldn’t afford to.  I asked people to donate things they could use and started praying more, covering the pain and guilt of not being able to “fix him.”  I knew that I had done all I could for my dad, but the loss was so great that it stole my joy for a long time.  He would not be happy with that as he was a “giver.” We never had a lot growing up, but we always gave to others and helped where we could.

Do one thing a day for someone else.  This will take your eyes off of your pain and troubles for just a little bit and allow you to see the needs of others.  Also, do something you enjoy daily.  These things do not have to require money, but the decision and determination to do them.

The lack of “Things” will try to steal your joy, people and their attitudes will try to steal your joy, and circumstances that are beyond your control will try to steal your joy – but remember…you have a choice.  You can choose joy.

It’s ok to choose joy in the middle of pain and sorrow.  It’s ok to let go of the guilt and give yourself permission to be happy.  It’s ok to say, “I don’t understand, but I believe God has me” and simply trust HIM.

Look to your inheritance, don’t focus on the fear or sorrows that surround you, focus on the Father!

Download your Free PDF Worksheet

Discussion – choose to answer any or all of the following:

  1. What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
  2. What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
  3. How does it make you feel to understand that God dances over you with joy? Is that easy for you to believe? Why or why not?

 

**Make sure you check the box to receive the followup comments so you can communicate with others during this study

Choose Joy Bible Study

Choose Joy bible study

I’m personally inviting you to this Choose Joy Bible Study. If you don’t have the book, I encourage you to hop on Amazon and get a copy or head over to your local Christian Bookstore and grab one there.   I’m so excited about this 4 Week Bible Study!  Joy doesn’t come easy for many of us and with the issues that we face daily, sometimes we wonder if we’ll ever see/feel or have joy again.

The truth of the matter is that we can, and on a daily basis.  Choosing joy is possible, regardless of darkness that seems to surround you.

It is my desire that as we go through this study together you’ll not only choose joy but that you’ll daily display that the JOY of the Lord is YOUR strength!  Neh 8:10.

I know how painful day after day of troubles and trials are.  I know just how frightful and discouraging life’s issues are.  I know firsthand financial troubles, health issues with children and how the sting of unemployment affects families.  I know the loneliness and fear that can consume your heart during those times of complete darkness and sorrow.  I know how tightly discouragement holds on to you, rendering you powerless to even lift your head sometimes.   I know the pain and grief of families being torn apart and loved ones dying, never to hear their sweet voices or see their precious smile again.  I know how guilt and shame leaving you feeling like you have no right to blessings.  I know how the pain of any situation is enhanced when night falls and the silence of darkness surrounds you.

But….

I also KNOW the ONE who is right beside me as I’m struggling to choose joy and trust His will!  As I’m traveling through the darkness, HE doesn’t mind living there to protect me, to strengthen me and to guide me.

 

Our darkest days are no surprise to HIM.  Our tears of pain, aches of discouragement and feelings of failure are no surprise to Him.  Our anger and questions screamed at the top of our hearts because we simply don’t understand does not cause Him to worry or wonder what will happen.

I know how choosing joy through all of that is possible!  It’s not us it is HIM.

Joy Is

Can you imagine how your heart will be swimming in true joy, even when you wonder just how things will work out at all? 

Can you imagine the joy that others around you will experience, because joy is highly contagious?

Can you imagine living a life of joy, simply because you choose to? And we know that we can do all things through Christ. Phil 4:13.

Each week there will be a pdf to download with a Memory verse and some open questions to get your heart focused on Choosing Joy.

Let’s strengthen our resolve by studying this together and choosing joy together.

Can’t wait to see you and study this with you.  Dive right in and choose joy!

 

 

Prayer Works

We see example after example in the Bible where people went to God in prayer and had miraculous prayers answered, yet we doubt that God can still do that today.

God is the same as He was then.

Put Verses about Prayer throughout your home.  Commit them to memory and you’ll have them at a moments notice.

Even when the answer is NO, God always answers.  We may not understand, just like our children do not understand when we say no, but we know without a doubt we can trust Him.

Praying for a loved one to accept Christ, don’t stop

Praying for a loved one to return to Christ, don’t stop

Praying for healing, for a miracle, for yet ANOTHER miracle – do not stop!

Prayer Works!

We hope you’ll pin these verses, share on facebook and use them to remind your heart when the enemy says don’t bother, that God Hears and Answers Prayer

 

We are not alone john 16.32

 

 

 

prayer of a righteous person has great power james 5.16

 

prayer isnt the least you can do

 

Pray for your enemies Matthew 5.44

 

O Lord I pray deliver my soul Psalms 116.4

 

love endures all even a cruel cross 1 corinthians 13.7

 

Gods word is forever isaiah 40.8

 

God WILL Hear You Jeremiah 29.12

 

God will heal America 2 Chronicles 7.14

 

encourage others hebrews 10.24

 

ask and it will be given Matthew 7.7

 

What are your favorite verses on Prayer? 

Do you have verses scattered throughout your home? 

 

Verses on Comfort

verses of comfort

 

Sometimes when our heart is in so much pain we can’t think of verses that will bring comfort.  Bookmark this page, print out these verses and keep them in your Bible or pin this page.  Whatever you need to do to help keep the verse handy.

Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 71:21 – You will increase my greatness and comfort me again

Psalm 77:2 – In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.

Psalm 86:17 – Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Psalm 119:50 – This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life

psalm 119 50

 

Psalm 119:76 – Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant

Jeremiah 31:13 – Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted

2 Corinthians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort   (Did you catch that dear Christian? the GOD of ALL COMFORT!!) 

2 Corinthians 13:11 – Finally brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you

1 Thessalonians 3:7 – for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith

2 Thessalonians 2:16 – Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace

 

What Verses do you turn to for comfort?

Do you have any printed out?

Will you share them in the comments below?

May the JOY of the Lord fill your heart today!

 

20 Absolutes Of A Happy Marriage

Marriage – the best of times, the worst of times.

So much joy and love, yet sometimes due to our human nature, we lash out so harshly at the ones we love the most, creating so much pain.

My son recently got married (4/12/2014) and my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary in October, so I wanted to give some advice to the happy couple, because no matter what stage of marriage you (we) are in, the following will always apply.

  1. Keep the Lord first – without Him, nothing works
  2. Keep your spouse second – children grow up and go on their own journey, your spouse will be with you after they’ve left the nest
  3. Keep your children and family third – yes, ministry is important and I’m 100% for it, but if you place your ministry before your children and your family then they will likely walk away from the Lord. Find a healthy balance and always….always make time for family. (Jesus always makes time for His children)
  4. Always kiss goodnight
  5. Hold hands as much as possible
  6. Read the Bible and pray together as much as possible
  7. Continue to date long after the wedding vows have been spoken
  8. The treats, treasures and surprises your spouse loved before the wedding – they still love
  9. Be willing to forgive….and often. Hurt is a part of the process, just like love, joy and compassion.
  10. Have meals together as a family, around the table and chat. (We had a no phone rule, I would suggest you establish one as well)
  11. Have some time with friends. Don’t go overboard, but still enjoy just some girl time and guy time
  12. Have fun – yes, be serious when necessary, but do fun, random and silly things
  13. Point out the amazing, wonderful qualities about your spouse….and do so often
  14. Do things without expectations – imagine if BOTH of us did this…. complete joy
  15. Pray for your spouse. Even when you are angry, hurt or mad and especially when you aren’t. You absolutely cannot stay mad at someone you are praying over daily
  16. Dream together – make plans for the future. It could be a nice vacation or a weekend getaway. Plan something together that you’ll love doing
  17. Speak kindly of your spouse – if you are always speaking well of them, that means you are always thinking well of them
  18. Don’t Compare – This is true about anything. One of my favorite quotes is “comparison is the thief of JOY” Don’t do it.
  19. Don’t Assume – Ladies, stop assuming your hints were dropped so well your husband can’t miss it. Men, if you don’t know…ask. Neither of us are mind readers.
  20. Marriage is a combination of sacrifice and commitment. Commit to it, be willing to make some sacrifices along the way and watch how God can use your relationship to help inspire and encourage others.

**Bonus – Sex and Romance are two very different, yet very necessary things. Both men and women should do their part to make sure their spouse is pleased in this area.

These are just a few things that will help our relationships. What would you add?

What are you doing in your marriage to keep it strong?

Please take a few moments to add to this conversation and be a blessing to others.

Don’t forget to leave your @twitter name so we can reach out to you there.

Visit Marie at Spreading-Joy.

Everyday Ministries For ANY Christian

When thinking of “ministry” think of…. Unto the Least of These…

Christian Ministry isn’t just for the Pastor and Assistant Pastors of a Church. It is for every Christian.

Yes, every one of us.

There are a million excuses for why people don’t “minister” one to another but none of them are valid or reasonable.

When you move past the guilt of wishing you could do more and focus on doing what you can with the gifts the Lord has provided you, then your ministry will be an honor to the Lord.

In Matthew 25:40 – Jesus reminds us that when we do anything…even to the “least of these” it is as if we are doing it to Him. We are also reminded that something as small as a “cup of cold water” given is huge in the Lord’s eyes. (Mark 9:41 & Matthew 10:42)

So how then can we minister to people if we are not a Pastor or Assistant Pastor?

Ministries for the Average Christian:

  • Ministry of Love (and mercy) –

o   Love the hurting – Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Churches should be a hospital for the broken and hurting to come and heal. Yes, we want people to grow in the grace of the Lord but we have to start with loving them first. Let God work on their hearts and we need to just love on the broken and hurting.

o   Love our leaders – We need to love our Pastors & their wife (family), Assistant Pastor & their family etc. We expect so much of God’s chosen but often completely forget that they are human. Love them, pray for them and encourage them. Every family should be an encouragement to the leadership of the church every month.

o   Love our neighbor – Yes, there will be disagreements but we need to love other families in church. Get to know new people in the Church. Get to know people on the other side of the church. Say hello, shake hands and smile at people. LOVE others.

  • Ministry of Encouragement –

o   Encouraging others isn’t difficult. Listen to the prayer requests, pray over them and then write a note letting that person know you prayed for them.

o   Send cards/letters for no reason at all other than to simply encourage

o   Helping people through their pain. Especially if it’s chronic pain, encouragement is a real gift for someone struggling day in and day out.

o   Encouraging people to take the next step. Sometimes stepping out on an unfamiliar journey is made a bit easier when a little encouragement is received.

o   Sharing happiness and joy with those that are celebrating blessings from the Lord.

o   Encourage your family. Don’t forget them!

  • Ministry of Giving –

o   Giving of your resources doesn’t just include financial. There are some artsy, crafty and very talented people that never use those talents for the Lord at all. Yes, give of your finances, but also, look at what you can give back from your talents and other resources.

o   Giving your time – Have you ever just went and kept someone company while they were having Chemo? While they were going through a bitter trial? While they were grieving? You don’t have to know what to say or how to say anything comforting because just the act of being there is great comfort.

  • Ministry of Volunteering –

o   Teach a class, a small group or an impromptu get together

o   Open your home for a ladies night of fun food and laughter

o   Volunteer your singing abilities or instrument playing abilities

o   Volunteer to greet people at the front door of the church

o   Volunteer to help organize a missions trip

o   Volunteer to deliver flowers or books to people in the hospital

o   Volunteer to make dinners for those coming home from hospital

o   Men – volunteer to help with the maintenance of the homes of the elderly in your church/community.

o   Ladies – help with the cleaning and upkeep of the homes for some of the elderly

  • Ministry of Praying –

o   When Chronic illness plagues your body, you can still pray

o   When you are busy mom of toddlers, you can still pray

o   When you are a busy businessman or woman, you can still pray

o   When you are a teen and still figuring out your journey, you can still pray

o   When you are a child, just learning to give, do and go – you can still pray

o   P R A Y – everyone can do this

 I could go on and on for days here but I won’t. I just want you to know that Ministry is for every single one of us. We are all called to live the way Jesus lived.

I’m Spreading Joy daily to people around me and you can be too. It isn’t expensive or hard and anyone can do it…including children. In addition to the ideas listed above, click the photo below and you’ll be taken to a list of 50 Ways to Make a Difference without Spending a Single Penny. No money is involved and you can impact your world for Christ!

Have fun Spreading God’s Joy and making a difference!

Train Up A Child

Parenting is not for wimps. It’s just not.

Until your child has children of their own, there is no way they will ever comprehend why you do what you do.

This is why it is vital to your heart that no matter how your days, months or years work out that you place your trust in what the Lord promised you.

It seems that in this day and age where we are raising a generation that I lovingly call the “Entitlement Generation” that it is becoming more and more difficult to train up a child in the way he/she should go.

Let me remind you of a few of God’s promises:

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it – Proverbs 22:6

Will your child stray? Maybe.  Will they always desire their own personal relationship with the Lord? Maybe…maybe not.  But TRUST that God has them and cling to this verse.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you – Psalm 56:3

There are times when we will fear for our children.  Trust in the ONE that loves your child more than even you do!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding – Proverbs 3:5

There will absolutely be times that you do not understand why your child is doing what they are doing.  There may be times that your heart and soul are crushed and the tears seem never ending.  TRUST HIM even when you don’t understand

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path Psalm 119:105

When you are helping to light the way for your children, USE GODS Word.  He is ever faithful, never changing and always preparing us to honor Him in some way.

What verses do you cling to when it comes to raising Godly children?

Do you have your children memorize verses so that no matter what happens they can hide Gods word in their hearts?

One last thing…sometimes there are no words of comfort on this earth.  I’d like to share 52 of God’s Promises that you can use as a Quick Reference.

Visit Marie at SpreadingJoy.

Single Step

 

Lao Tzu said “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” I have found that sometimes we take that first step naturally, other times it is quite by accident. Then there are the times that we are forced into taking that step with no control over what is happening, no look into what will be happening or no clue as to why it is happening.

That first step can often be scary, confusing and downright difficult. When we are facing a new direction, a new journey of yet another thousand miles, sometimes it is so easy to over look the positive because we are afraid or focused on the unknown. Instead of checking out the scenery along the way of our journey, we are focused on the “what ifs”. We need to eliminate the “what if” game from our life and enjoy our journey, enjoy the beauty that is surrounding us and know that even with challenges that lay ahead, joy is swirling all around us, waiting to be noticed and appreciated.

As my life takes a new direction, I’m not fearful, I’m not worried – I’m excited! The last 4 years of my journey has been such a hodge podge of emotions, challenges and events. When I embarked on that journey in April of 2006, I was fearful. It was the most difficult challenge I had ever faced and I literally stood, looking at my virtual mountain and thought “ok, swallow me up, get it over with….I’ll never be able to do this, NOT in a million years.” The only thing that was consistent was change and I had never been presented with so much to learn all at once. I was afraid of an epic fail.

Not only was there NOT an Epic Fail – but it was the best four years ever. Challenges presented themselves. People came into my life, securing a permanent place in my heart, new things were learned, old ideas were tossed out the door. New friendships were made, faith was increased.

My new direction is in employment. At my last assignment, there was lots of smiling, singing, problems and mercy – the food and gatherings were always such fun! There were projects that seem to never end and then the easy ones that made you feel as though you accomplished something right away. There was the infamous 3 day work week *ahem* and the immediate “NO” (with a big smile) as certain people came through the door looking for stuff. There were those that brightened the day with their laughter, smiles and hugs, as well as the 2 that made my path smell wonderful as I journeyed down the halls. There was the direct leadership, that was always appreciative, realistic and supportive and made the day enjoyable, regardless of the challenges and ocean of paperwork that continued to grow.

Has your direction changed recently? Are you standing at the bottom of the biggest mountain you’ve ever faced and are thinking, go ahead…swallow me up? Are you moving towards the unknown?

What are you doing to appreciate the journey? Are you noticing the little things that make life Big while you fight your way down this road? I hope so, because the JOY is there, swirling all about you – begging for you to notice and appreciate it.

Go ahead! Take that first step….your next thousand miles awaits you!

{{{HUGS}}} Yall

Assumptions

It started with the book The Shape of Mercy and the main character assuming that someone was hired help by the way he was dressed when he was actually a friend of the family. The book is about the Salem Witch Trials and all of the horrible assumptions there.

Next I hear it. You’ve heard it and maybe even said it before. “Well, you know how those people are.” Oh, really? Do I? I literally shake my head and say, no…no I do not.

Assumptions are nasty things. With the exception of when your son calls and says something like “Do you know I have the most beautiful Mom in the entire world?” By all means, assume he wants something and reply with “No, tell me how beautiful she really is.” And then smile and sit back and take in the wonderful words that are being said about you at that very moment.

If it’s not this situation, then assuming can be very harmful, dangerous and just plain wrong. I honestly try and not assume things about people based on where they live, how they dress, what size they are or what kind of vehicle they drive. When I meet someone, I immediately start looking at how their heart sees things. I want to see things through their eyes, but again, I do not assume to know or understand how or why they see things the way they do. I try to live by this and make it a rule. I don’t assume things about people based on surroundings.

Many people assume that just because someone says they are a Christian that they truly are. Unfortunately many people speak the language, but don’t walk the talk and this is very misleading. Others think that if a non-believer asks questions that they simply want to debate. Again, this is not always a correct assumption. Many people that ask questions are simply seeking the truth and shame on us for not giving it without assuming they want an argument.

I could go on and on here. So many assumptions are made about people based on their size, place of employment and such. Why do we do this? Why do we assume things without taking the time to see things through the eyes of others or even try to understand where people are coming from?

We’ve all had our moments where things were better, where we looked better, felt better, dressed better. We’ve all had moments where we were proud to be who we are and held our head high. The opposite is true, we’ve all had our moments where the worst part of our being has shown through and we’d love to take it back and undo the damage we’ve done, but we can’t. We would love to go back in time and change many moments in our life that were less than pleasant. All of these moments are shared by each and every one of us and yet we still make horrible assumptions.

Have you caught yourself assuming the worst about people or even the best about people? Do you assume that what you see at first glance is all that there is? Do you assume that there is no need to look further for facts because you know all the facts you need to know?

Am I assuming that everyone assumes way too much? If I am assuming, is my assumption wrong? Assuming you will answer me in the comment section, will you have the courage to speak the truth about assumptions?

{{HUGS}} yall

A Place Of Healing

When I began listening to the audio version of A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada I listened, knowing that she had an amazing ministry to disabled people. I expected this book to be directed to towards physical healing, but quickly found out that it spoke very loudly to my heart. I have no physical disabilities, but found that healing is necessary, so I listened with an open heart and mind.

Listening to this book from a view point of hurt is painful, regardless of what kind it is; will help you to begin the healing that your heart requires. You may need physical healing and this book can and will speak loudly to you.

You may require other kind of healing, such as healing of your heart that is discouraged, discontent or depressed. You may need healing due to trust issues with someone you love deeply. You may need healing from knowing God’s will for your life and fear has gripped your soul so much so that you are afraid to step out and go forward with the plans that God has in-store for you.

One of my favorite quotes from Joni is:

I pray for strength to bare my pain, grace to benefit from it and devotion to offer it up to God as a sacrifice of praise.

Again, pain – regardless of the “kind of pain” hurts. Joni reminds us that God’s power always shows up in weakness and that pain and trials can lead to a heightened thirst for Christ.

Joni didn’t sugar coat any of the painful truth about living with chronic pain, daily hurts and disappointments and the question of how can this great pain benefit anyone, much less bring glory to the Lord? This book provides an honest look at dealing with any kind of hurt that you may need healing from.

If you are battling wave after wave of pain, hurt, sorrow or just feel like your heart will never sing again, I hope you’ll get this book, listen to it from a standpoint that hurt needs healing, regardless of what kind of hurt it is, and then – let the healing begin as you listen to an honest look at coming to a Place of healing.

This book is read by Joni, which is a treat. It’s very nicely done as she is use to speaking, teaching and talking to large groups of individuals.

Thank you to christianaudio for a complimentary copy of this book via the Reviewers program. I am not required to give a positive review of this book.

Christianaudio has a free audiobook for your downloading pleasure each and every month, as well as gift certificates for the audio book enthusiast in your world.


 

Other Books from Joni Eareckson Tada

 

 

 

 

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom is a riveting story of faith, hope and complete trust in the Lord during a time that is nothing short of horrific.

This true account of a family that helped Jews without regards to their own well being, will have you on the edge as you listen to Corrie’s recollection of the events that led up to her family’s imprisonment in a Nazi Concentration camp. Their home was the hub for the underground activities that was responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of Jews.

The grace through the episodes of testing and the miracle of 100 ration cards for food, all under the cover of a small watch shop will remind you that as long as you are willing, God is able.

The Sisters faith and trust as they were “thankful in all things”, including a flea infestation, will walk you through the dark days of World War II. Thinking of others, before, during and after the Concentration Camp imprisonment. Corrie’s detailed memories will have you searching your own heart, looking for all the wonderful blessings that are bestowed upon you each day.

The Narrator, Bernadette Dunne is exceptional! I listened with ease and excitement as I imagined it was Corrie, herself recounting the events over a warm cup of coffee.

I strongly urge you to get this book, listen and let your heart be blessed as you are reminded how living unselfishly, giving what you can, making a difference for others regardless of your circumstances is truly the greatest life of all.

I’d like to thank Christian Audio for the complimentary copy of this book through your Reviewers’ program. Follow Christian Audio on Twitter here.

Other Books from Corrie Ten Boom

Still He Speaks

Ps 46:10 BE STILL…and know that I AM God

Romans 10:17 – Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God

Sometimes when everything is going great – we forget to listen to the Lord – Still HE speaks

Sometimes the tears flow daily – we forget to listen to the Lord – Still He Speaks

Sometimes the laughter fills our hearts – we forget to listen to the Lord – Still He speaks

Sometimes discouragement steals our joy – we forget to listen to the Lord – Still He speaks

Sometimes anger robs us of our compassion – we forget to listen to the Lord – Still HE speaks

Sometimes hatred blinds our way – we forget to listen to the Lord – Still HE speaks

Sometimes daily activities keeps us busy and we forget to listen to the Lord – Still HE speaks

Sometimes weariness causes us pull away and we forget to listen to the Lord – Still He speaks

Sometimes…..we forget to listen to the Lord – STILL HE Speaks

Will you hear?

Will you trust?

Will you listen?

Still… He speaks

 

Visit Marie at SpreadingJoy for more and support her as she spreads JOY!

Follow Their Example

I’m always amazed at just how awesome the love of God is.

When we stop focusing on our past mistakes, failures and current fears and turn our eyes towards the Lord, we’ll see just how amazing HE is.

The Creator of the Universe, the ONE the wind and waves OBEY… will come to our rescue.

Choose to trust Him when the raging seas have you trembling.

Choose to trust Him when the day is gorgeous and your heart is at great peace.

Choose to be faithful.

Be like Abraham and simply Go

Be like Joshua and fight for the Lord

Be like Joseph and do what is right…..regardless

Be like Daniel, praying as always so that even when you face the den of hungry lions, you’ll have peace that passes all understanding.

Be like Esther and boldly take your needs before the One that loves and adores you.

Be like Elijah and remember that as long as God is on your side, YOU are the majority.

Be like Noah and be faithful…no matter how long it takes.

Be like Peter and just get out of the boat.

Be like David realizing that when you are facing giants, that God has already equipped you to win.

Be like Nathan and courageously deliver the word of God

Be like Job and wait on the Lord

Be like Barnabas and encourage others in Christ

Be like John the Baptist and proclaim the name of the Lord

Be like Paul and Silas and praise the Lord with singing no matter where you end up.

Be as much like Jesus as possible so that one day you’ll hear the Father say….. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

Keep your eyes on Heaven and Follow Him

 

What OTHER characters should we be like? Please, list them below in the comment section! and thank you!!!

Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved

 

Hebrews 13:5 – Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

 

John 8:12 – Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

 

 

 

Marie is the founder/President of Spreading Joy Corporation, a Non Profit that is dedicated to reminding others of the simple joy of giving. To find out more about making a difference for others without breaking the bank, more encouraging articles and more about her book Spreading Joy Daily please visit her site at http://www.spreading-joy.org

A Promise Kept

Because of this single promise found in Luke 18:33 “And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again” we can stand strong in His strength.Picture-001

Because Jesus rose again….

We don’t have to fear tomorrow or face it alone

We have peace that surpasses all understanding

We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords

We can sing praises of your matchless love, grace and mercy

We can sleep knowing that should we never wake, the splendors of Heaven await us

We have hope that never ends, regardless of the darkness chasing us

We can take our greatest treasures with us to Heaven…our family and friends

We enjoy the majesty of this gift of life and the beauty you’ve filled it with

We can live an abundant life experiencing joy as only you can give

We can smile through tears, knowing that all things work together for good

We can stand strong in His strength and work though His power, not our own

We are refreshed by the daily renewing of His mercies

We are encouraged by His faithfulness

We know that every tear will be wiped away

We know that His love reaches us…..regardless

We know true, honest and pure love

We know that our God is greater

 

AND because a single promise was kept….

We are looking for the promised return, knowing it could be any moment… a twinkling of an eye

 

Marie Wikle

@spreadingJOY

 

This article was first published in Tell It on the Mountain eMagazine by DeAnne McBurnie. Thank you DeAnne for how you are spreading JOY!

Marie is the founder/President of Spreading Joy Corporation, a Non Profit that is dedicated to reminding others of the simple joy of giving. To find out more about making a difference for others without breaking the bank, more encouraging articles and more about her book Spreading Joy Daily please visit her site at http://www.spreading-joy.org

In A Valley

I love catching shapes in clouds & the mountains are always beautiful

I’m in a valley. It’s true. Have been for about a month now AND I love it! I do! I’m working in beautiful Salem Virginia. Mountains are everywhere I look. The ride to and from each week has been gorgeous with the color of the leaves changing to burnt orange and bright reds. Megan even asked me when I started working there, what it was like. My reply was, “I’m in a valley,” to which she responded ohhhhhh, niiiiice! I had to smile because I knew that I’ve been wondering about life’s valleys.

Being in this majestic valley has got me thinking lately about “life’s valleys.”

We all go through the valley in life, there is no escaping it. It’s a matter of when. My question to myself has been why don’t I “look up” at the wonderful surroundings when I’m in life’s valley, just as I’m doing while working here in the valley of Virginia? I know that I’m surrounded by a million little things that make life glorious and I also know the valleys are going to happen. So what is the disconnect?

Could it be that I’m so focused on the issues that I forget to look up and enjoy what is around me? Or maybe the discouragement during that time has put a huge cloud over me and I can’t see the beauty that is all about me? Could it be that discontentment wastes my energy and I have no strength to focus on making it through the valley? Why have I never thought of looking up before?

We all have so many blessings in our life that should carry us from one valley to the next but when we are in those valleys – we tend to forget them, so our stay there seems much longer than necessary.

The valleys of life are hard. I’ve been in many of them and do not enjoy them during that time. I’m always thankful for friends I can come to for help, but like many – I sometimes choose not to ask, for fear of being a “burden”.

I faced another closed door a few weeks back. My heart ached with great pain, discouragement and no music was there. Until I poured out my heart in the following words that day, I sat in silence. No singing, no happiness and fighting back the tears from yet one more closed door.

The Closed Door

Sometimes the hurt is too much to bare
Even though you say I can, I feel I can’t share

The Load is heavy, the road is long
The heart is weary and has lost its song

I know there’s hope that never ends
But for now it seems my life won’t mend

I just want to be held, I’m tired and weak
I’ll simply rest in silence, as I can’t even speak

You are strong, I’m not. I can’t even try
I can’t stop the tears from falling from my eyes

This is me, this is all – there is nothing more
Such is my life – as I stand, facing the closed door.

Will I remember this in my next valley? Yes. Will it make a difference? I honestly don’t know. Will I struggle along alone? I hope not. I hope that I will have the courage to ask for help that day, but it takes courage for that, and I’m far from courageous.

What do you think? Why do we not look up when we are in life’s valley? Why do we struggle alone – without asking for help? We have great friendships and tons of resources, yet we choose to limp along through the valley – alone.

Tell me, what is the disconnect?

{{HUGS}} yall


Marie is the founder/President of Spreading Joy Corporation, a Non Profit that is dedicated to reminding others of the simple joy of giving. To find out more about making a difference for others without breaking the bank, more encouraging articles and more about her book Spreading Joy Daily please visit her site at http://www.spreading-joy.org

Gifts Of God’s Grace

I love the Grace of God.

I love the fact that HE looks for us! He wants to spend time with us. Not just hear our prayers, but he longs to just spend time together.

Isn’t that an amazing thought?

The King of Kings and LORD of Lords wants to spend time with us?

We wake in the morning and God sees us in our sleepy slumber and thinks, “THERE she/he is…. I HOPE they spend some time with me today!” or maybe it is something like “I hope we can sit and remember the wonderful things that made him/her smile yesterday! What a smile it will bring again today!”

OR maybe it will be, “I can’t wait until she/he sings today! I know it’s never on key, but it’s pure joy to my heart!”

But I wonder how often God may think “ Well, at least they talk to me in prayer, they think they need so many things…I wish they would just trust me more.”

Are we guilty of that?

Are we guilty of using and abusing the grace that God so freely gives us? We know His grace will reach farther than our minds can even imagine.

Do we use HIS grace as a get out of jail free card? Saying “well, I know that isn’t right but God will forgive me.”

It’s true, HE will – but intentionally trampling all over the gift of God’s grace is not a way of keeping the sweet fellowship that we all need, not to mention the horrible image of God that we are reflecting.

Imagine how your heart would sink if your children did that day in and day out. Imagine how your heart would feel if your child was known as the child that took advantage of your good graces. It’s not a feeling I want to endure.

God thinks we are so amazing and so precious that He sent His only Son to die for us. His grace is a blood bought gift that I treasure from the King of Glory.

I HOPE that you treasure it as well.

Majesty gives us grace.

Royalty paid our debt

 

The King of Kings loves us more than we can ever know.

Yes, we can come as we are, but think about bringing your best after we are part of HIS family.

Yes, HE calls us friend, but gladly show the respect that Royalty deserves.

Yes, we are his child and He will always adore us, but let’s love and ADORE our Father!

God’s Grace….don’t take it for granted.

 

1 Timothy 1:14
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:1
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:9
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men

Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

1 Corinthians 1:3
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

Spreading Joy is as simple as posting on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or Google + as well as pinning on Pinterest.

Do you have an article on this topic? I invite you to leave it below in the comment sections so others can easily find MORE encouragement and thank you for doing so!

Thank you for your efforts in Spreading JOY

Marie is the founder/President of Spreading Joy Corporation, a Non Profit that is dedicated to reminding others of the simple joy of giving. To find out more about making a difference for others without breaking the bank, more encouraging articles and more about her book Spreading Joy Daily please visit her site at http://www.spreading-joy.org

Whatever The Day May Bring

Whatever your day has brought you – PRAISE HIM!

If it brought you sun, praise HIM – If it brought you rain, praise HIM

If it brought you a bonus, praise HIM – If it brought you an unemployment check, praise HIM

If it brought you a new car, praise HIM – If it brought you news you need a new motor, praise HIM

If it brought you warm hugs and kisses, praise Him – If it brought you despair and grief, praise HIM

If it brought you a trip to your favorite place, praise HIM – If it brought you to the hospital or doctor office, Praise HIM

If it brought you gladness and smiles, praise HIM – If it brought you tears and sorrow, praise HIM

If it brought you peace and harmony, praise HIM – If it brought you uncertainty and fighting, praise HIM

If it brought you encouragement and direction, praise HIM – If it brought you discouragement and road blocks, praise HIM

If it brought you good news of promotion or healing, praise Him – If it brought you heartbreaking news or disease, praise HIM

If it brought you smiles and laughter, praise HIM – If it brought you anger and yelling, praise Him

Whatever this day has brought you, place your hope in the Lord and simply praise HIM

 

Psalm 9:2
I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

 

 

Psalm 34:1
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

 

Marie Wikle the Founder and President of Spreading Joy Corporation wants to empower everyone to make a difference and give without guilt.

Here is a personal Warm Welcome to Spreading Joy. You’ll find links to interviews, no cost ways to make a difference and other things that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your heart.

 

We want to rise above the discouragement of high prices, the obstacle of dead ends and the disappointment of our comfort zone. We want to be the change that is so desperately needed.

Where Is Goodness & Joy?

Where is GoodnessThe other day I was talking with a friend that I had not talked to in a while. Knowing that she had been through a deep, horrible loss with the death of her beloved brother, I emailed her to let her know I was thinking of her and praying for her.

Through a series of emails, she made a statement to me that many of us often forget when the pain is overwhelming and the darkness has consumed our days.

She said:

“Goodness does still exist here, you just have to look real, real, real, real, real, real, real, real, real, real hard.”

Here, among many other things, is what I shared with her.

“Goodness is still here. The negative overshadows it. Hurt covers it. Pain hides it. Uncover the goodness!”

Pain, discouragement and disappointment can and often does bring isolation. Then the depression creeps in. When that happens, JOY is covered up and because you don’t “feel happy”, the negative emotions take over.

 

Happiness is a fleeting emotion, while Joy is undeniable faith in an almighty God, who has your best interest at heart. We may not always understand our pain, anguish or why we don’t seem to be reaping the goodness we’ve sowed, but we can claim great joy in the Lord as we walk through the hardships that lay ahead.

I’ve had several people tell me that the only reason I can be actively spreading joy the way I do is because things are good and/or that I’m just looking at the world through rose colored glasses.

When I speak of spreading the joy of the Lord “regardless of circumstances,” I speak from experience. Yes, I’m so blessed! Yes, my needs are met and many of my wants are met as well. Yes, I have a wonderful husband, 2 amazing kids and family that I adore. Yes, I have a job to pay the bills and to give support to Spreading Joy with. But yes…I do know pain, hurt and just how dark negativity can make things.

There have been times that I’ve looked up towards heaven and said “seriously???? Lord?? Really?”

There have been times that I’ve sobbed, not just cried, but poured out my heart to the Lord saying, “again??? Must we endure this again?”

There have been times when grief has so filled my heart with sadness that I simply couldn’t get out of bed.

There have been times when I’ve wondered… “when Lord? When will a positive answer to prayer come”

There are things on my “only GOD” prayer list that I look at and wonder can I muster up a grain of a mustard seed sized portion of faith for those needs.

There have been times that my hearts tells the Lord, “I’m sorry, Lord. I’ve completely failed you and I don’t have the wisdom to take the next step”

And as much as I try not to, there are those times when I whisper in my heart, “why Lord. Why? I simply don’t get it!”

 

But I can firmly stand on the Word of the Lord with Nehemiah 8:10 saying the joy of the LORD is my strength. Am I always happy? No, I’m not. But do I have joy through sorrow? Yes, I do.

So, how do we find the goodness and find joy that gets hidden during these horrid times in our lives?

We look for them, seek them, choose them and keep them.

  1. Look for the good. There is usually something good about each and every day. Trouble is our heart is so discouraged that it shuts its eyes to anything but the negative that surrounds the trouble. Uncover the joy that is waiting to be discovered.
  2. Use praise as a weapon. Being openly grateful about the blessings in our world will drive discouragement away. Don’t get me wrong, it may be a fight between your heart and mind, but it is worth it. Praise the hurt away. Sing until the clouds lift from over your heart.
  3. Laugh. I love laughing and sometimes, I laugh at the most inappropriate time, which tends to end up being funnier for those around me. When your heart is in despair, find your favorite cartoons, your favorite funny shows and watch them.
  4. Saturate your day with the Word of God. Listen to the Bible, read the Bible. Find some online preaching. We should be in God’s word daily anyway, but more so when we don’t “feel like it.”
  5. Pray! Surround yourself with the Comforter Himself. God knows your heart, empty it of the hurt that is filling it up and let God’s joy strengthen you.
  6. Do something for others. Don’t let negative feelings about how small “your something for others is” cloud your heart. Just do it. I’m telling you, and I’ll keep telling you – go and give a box of Little Debbie Cakes away or a pack of Reese’s Cups. The smiles will be unbelievable.
  7. Dig deep into your memory. On the days when the sorrow is so great due to a horrible loss and you are working your way through the pain of that particular event, do something powerful and REMEMBER something good, just for a few moments. I know this kind of day. Even though you have great peace and trust the Lord to carry you through, the pain is so great that you wonder how you’ll function. Use the memories of something awesome to remind your heart that “this too shall pass” and just how amazing God’s grace truly is.

 

This in no way is an exhaustive list, but it is things that I do and turn to time and time again.

I’ve been sending out a message on twitter for a while now. I will send it out almost daily as I know different people will see it at different times. It says

JOY…. Choose it today! Look for it today… Expect it TODAY!

 

In the middle of your discouragement, remember the joy is right there too. Your eyes are closed to it because sometimes it is just easier to see the darkness. But remember, even in the darkest night, all it takes is one flicker and that flicker can be seen for miles.

Uncover the goodness; don’t let it slip by you without you grabbing hold of it.

How do you uncover the goodness and joy that is within your reach?

Will you share some of what gets you through the dark times?

What verse or verses get you through?

Inspire someone by leaving a comment.

 

Marie Wikle the Founder and President of Spreading Joy Corporation wants to empower everyone to make a difference and give without guilt.
Here is a personal Warm Welcome to Spreading Joy. You’ll find links to interviews, no cost ways to make a difference and other things that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your heart.

We want to rise above the discouragement of high prices, the obstacle of dead ends and the disappointment of our comfort zone. We want to be the change that is so desperately needed.

Hope In Emptiness

I love that with the Resurrection there is hope in hopeless situations.

I love that even though it looks like things will end, that the beginning is right there in Christ, A new beginning in Christ. I love that when I feel that all is lost, the SONrise will remind me that the day can be even brighter when I choose to focus on HIM.

I love the joy we have in knowing that the gift of the cross is open and available for anyone who seeks peace that passes all understanding.

As we follow Jesus all the Way, This is my prayer for each of US

Lord, help us not to:

Focus on those that hurt me or use me for their gain. Even when I “thought” they were true friends. (Luke 6:28 Bless them that curse you and pray for them which despitefully use you)

Focus on how it looks like I’m not reaping from the goodness I’ve sown, when I’m so very blessed even though it’s not financial.

Focus on the impossibility because I know that with God all things are possible.

Focus on the why’s, the doubts or fears because I know to do so limits the good that I can do for the Lord.

Focus on the pain that engulfs my heart sometimes because in doing so, it blinds me from noticing and helping others that are hurting.

Focus on the famous because when I do, I lose sight of the forgotten ones that you bled and died for.

Focus on being powerful and mighty and just simply remain available for anything that you have for our life.

Focus on our inefficiencies but rather wrap my heart around the fact that I can do all things through Christ because HE strengthens me.

Focus on the past, because it will bog down my future with guilt, shame and keep me from pressing towards the great things God will do through me….right HERE, right NOW.

Lord, do help us to keep our eyes on YOU and to remain hopeful right in the middle of the impossible, because of the Empty Grave.

Remember:

Because of the empty grave, there is hope in emptiness.

Keep your eyes on the Lord. Hopelessness will try to consume you at some point in your life, but look to the empty tomb, and the hope in the Resurrection of Christ and know that He loves you enough to take on death, hell and your fears for you.

Don’t focus on fear or failure. Focus on the Father.

 

Yes, I will

In Christ Alone

 

I will Follow

Marie Wikle the Founder and President of Spreading Joy Corporation wants to empower everyone to make a difference and give without guilt.
Here is a personal Warm Welcome to Spreading Joy. You’ll find links to interviews, no cost ways to make a difference and other things that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your heart.

We want to rise above the discouragement of high prices, the obstacle of dead ends and the disappointment of our comfort zone. We want to be the change that is so desperately needed.

Letting Go

Letting go is one of the most difficult things ever. You know I’m telling the truth here! It doesn’t matter what “it” is, it is hard to let go.

Letting go means you place 100% trust in whomever you are letting things go to. It means that you have confidence in that person to handle things better than you would handle them yourself.

You relinquish all control and you step away, trusting.

Letting go signifies great faith.

We have so much to let go of don’t we? I’ll list just a few that quickly come to mind:

  • Emotional baggage from the past
  • Fear of failure for the future
  • Fear of success
  • Choices we’ve made and the outcome that is sure to follow
  • Our children and their choices
  • Our health, appearance and physical features
  • Our finances, or lack thereof
  • Our dreams, desires and opportunities that await us
  • Our fear of the unknown – the what if’s, why’s and what was I thinking
  • Our yesterday, so we may enjoy today, while looking towards tomorrow

Many think that letting go is a sign of weakness, but in all actuality, it displays great strength and faith.

I want that kind of faith.

I want to easily let go and let God.

As a Christian we are “letting go” of those things to the Lord. Our Savior! Our heavenly Father! The Kind of Kings, Lord of Lords and name like no other.

We aren’t just letting go to some other person that just halfheartedly cares about us – NO, we are letting go to the ONE who gave HIS Son for us as a sacrifice. We are letting go to the ONE that cares for our desires, hopes and dreams like no other. We are letting go to the one who created us and then planned that everything would work out for us as He planned. We are letting go to the ONE who overcame death, hell and has endured anything we could ever endure.

I pray that you’ll confidently let go of whatever it is that weighs you down, knowing that the One you are trusting your eternity to is the ONE you are letting go of your problems, hopes, dreams and fears to.

Let go and Let God!

What do you need to hand over to God? Many people see this site daily and I’m sure they would be encouraged to see that they “are not alone” in handing over a few things.

Encourage someone in the comments below.

(I’ll start out by leaving mine here)

This comes from a dream that I recently had. In the dream our family is struggling with all that we are currently struggling with. I felt extremely small and overwhelmed at the things we faced. The dream was very chaotic and fear ruled my heart. (I won’t bore you with the gory details, but my daughter’s health, the finances that have hit us due to this, my son spending his first summer so far away – completely in God’s will, but still painful as I miss him much more than anyone could ever imagine and several other things)

I was walking and praying as I so often do and somehow ended up on a bridge. I have a horrid fear of heights and this was really, really high. Immediately my fear kicks in and I’m frozen. I can’t think and can barely breathe when the bridge starts to crumble. It’s foggy and I can’t see below. I’m hanging on for my life and I hear, clearly, God saying… “trust me, let go”

I’d love to say that immediately, I just let go, but I can’t.

I did what most of us do and cried out in fear and anguish, “but Lord, I’m scared just get me off here” He again, said…”trust me, let go.”

At that point, with tears flowing, my heart was thinking ok, it seems I don’t have a choice, but I woke up before I let go, so I don’t actually know if I truly trusted God enough to let go.

When I woke up, I had been crying in my sleep….that is just how fearful I had been.

So, today…right here, right now… as best as I know how, I’m letting it all go to Him.

My family – I prayed for a Christian family, HE gave me one…they belong to Him. Lord, just keep using us for YOU.

My finances – with more appointments, specialists, surgery and such looming, there is no way we can ever afford any of it without the Lord. (When the dr. left the room, the first question Megan asked was….Mom, can we afford this? I told her it is a non-issue, that God will provide.) It belongs to Him.

My dream of a larger home – we’ve lived in a tiny 1100 sq ft home since Megan was born. If I get a bigger home, I get one. If not, I’ll enjoy my mansion in Heaven one day.

Spreading Joy & Helping Others – God allowed me to start this and HE will have to fund it. I won’t borrow money to help people. If we help others, it’s because God will put it on the hearts of others to partner with us. We will do what we can with what we have. It’s His.

I’m going to just trust Him. It’s all I can do. It’s all HIS. I’m letting go.

 

{{hugs}}

 

 

 

Never Let Go – David Crowder

 

Never Once – Matt Redman

 

Overcome – Jeremy Camp

John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

1 John 5:4
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

1 John 5:5
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Psalms 55:22
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

 

Marie Wikle the Founder and President of Spreading Joy Corporation wants to empower everyone to make a difference and give without guilt.

Here is a personal Warm Welcome to Spreading Joy. You’ll find links to interviews, no cost ways to make a difference and other things that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your heart.

We want to rise above the discouragement of high prices, the obstacle of dead ends and the disappointment of our comfort zone. We want to be the change that is so desperately needed.

Never Alone

My heart is amazed at just how big this world is and how technology can keep us in touch with those who have moved away from us.  But sometimes, my heart is even more amazed at just how alone we can feel even though people are close to us physically as well as through technology. 

We often feel alone when:

  • The pain in the night is unbearable
  • The silence is deafening
  • Friends should rejoice with us but are envious
  • Family squabbles become bitter feuds
  • The darkness engulfs us
  • The well deserved promotion is shot down by assumptions
  • No one understands
  • Everyone says they understand but act as if they could care less
  • We’ve tried a million times but continue to feel like a failure
  • We’ve asked for forgiveness but there is no hope of receiving it
  • Good news is overshadowed by great hurt

You’ve probably been there and felt as if your prayers were going no further than the ceiling.  Let me remind you that not only does your Heavenly Father hear those cries, they matter to Him.  He hears you and cares about what your heart is feeling.

The time you feel completely alone is when you typically withdraw and close your heart off to the world.  Worse than that, you close your Bible and think; I don’t even know what to pray, so why bother and you let isolation MOVE YOU from your Father’s side.

God never moves from us.  We move from Him.  But, even when we stray, move or completely ignore Him…we are never alone.

What verses do you wrap yourself in when you feel completely alone?

Please leave them below and encourage those that are feeling completely alone.

 

I Know You’re There

2 Chronicles 13:12
And, behold, God himself is with us 

2 Chronicles 32:8
With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.

 

 

You’re Not alone

 

 

Deut 31:6  Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

 

God With Us

 

 

Lamentations 3:24-25 

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

 

Giants

 

Guys are huge! Huge! Especially if you are a little girl, you look up and see a mighty man towering over you, your heart trembles a little. Men are giants in the eyes of children

I remember as a little, tiny girl being afraid of those towering giants in my life. There were only two giant men that I took to early on without fear and they were my Father and Grandfather.

While I understand that not every man is full of care, compassion and concern for the women and children in his world and those that are quietly observing, (make no mistake, they are observing and retaining what they observe) I also understand that there are men that want to be a force for good in this world.

I applaud you and want to encourage you to continue to be a Giant!

Here are some ways we can all be Giants, but Men, please…. Continue to stand up and be HUGE!

Giant of Compassion – Men in particular usually have a hard time comfortably displaying their emotions and showing compassion isn’t always the easiest. I know that kindness is there, filling your heart…let it flow freely.

Giant of Love – Continue to love and allow yourself to be loved – even when love hurts.

Giant of Giving – Giving of what you have doesn’t always come naturally, but we can condition our hearts to be a giant in this area. Don’t focus on what you are giving, or to whom. Just give what you can and show others that there is nothing like it.

Giant of Laughter – With the weight of the responsibilities that you bare, sometimes it is just good to sit back and do fun things. Laugh daily and share freely.

Giant of Family – YOU head up the family, you are responsible, you direct, guide and shelter. Be there, be part of what goes on, share your heart with those in your family freely. Be authentic and in doing so, you will raise up giants of your own.

Giant of a Husband – Men if you are married, the best thing you can do is to continue to date and spoil your wife. Find out, if you’ve forgotten, what little things she adores and spoil her with them. Yes, we ladies need to do the same thing, but we gals are creatures of response and she will react. But, honestly…don’t do this just to “get” something in return….do this because you are a giant and are willing to do it because it is the right thing to do.

Giant of a Friend – Men, go and do some men stuff. Encourage each other and have fun. Take time to be a friend.

Giant of an Example – There are little eyes watching you and you won’t even realize it. You will cause someone, somewhere to remember something that you did…something you considered insignificant and yet, in that moment it was larger than life to the onlooker. You are always inspiring someone and being an influence. The question is, are you inspiring great things or are you inspiring a lackadaisical attitude?

Giant of Wisdom – You have experiences that no one else around you has. You can share what you’ve learned and those around you that are truly wise will learn from you. Share freely.

 

Lastly guys, remember, you are completely loved and adored by someone.

YOU ARE a giant in their eyes. Treasure that, protect that and use it.

Gals – you can be a giant to! I hope you will be.

Your turn! How can we be giants to those little eyes that are watching everything we say and do? Don’t miss your opportunity to be heard here.

 

Dear Dad, you are already a HERO, just because you are a dad… be the best influence you can be without guilt

Dear Dad, I know you are busy with work &providing for the family, but provide memories too

Dear Dad, I know we are all special BUT never, ever forget that you are loved & adored

Dear Dad, even when I think I know it ALL, YOU still be the parent. I’m too young to make big decisions.

Dear Dad, laughter is the best medicine, but never forget tears are healing

Dear Dad, Even though guys are macho, we still need to hear “i love you”

Dear Dad, I know you want to give me the best of everything, but make me be responsible for what you give me

Dear Dad, we love big squishy bear hugs

Dear Dad, help me to own my mistakes, don’t enable me or excuse my actions

Dear Dad, I love you

 

 

Visit Marie at SpreadingJoy.